Triangle Grammar Guide

Longtime N&O journalist Pam Nelson writes about language use and misuse and answers questions about grammar and style. Readers can weigh in on what annoys them, too. Think of this as your online grammar class. Send e-mail to Pam at

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Today's quiz is one of those that a regular commenter has called a "spelling" quiz. True, some of the choices in the sentences on the quiz are between two homonyms, but at least one sentence will ask quiz takers to choose from two words that are often confused but have different uses.

I put a timer on this quiz, just to try out that function of the quiz-writing software. Three minutes is probably much more than anyone would need to complete the five sentences, but if you find the time is not sufficient, please send me a message or leave a comment.

Click here or on the question mark icon to begin. 


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Regarding the first

Regarding the first questions, one might argue that the best means of being prudent is sometimes to be separate.

In this case ...

You're right. Perhaps being prudent would demand being separate.

Pam Nelson

Triangle Grammar Guide

Oh come on, make it fun ....

.... make it a 30-second limit!

30 seconds?

My test subject did the quiz in 32 seconds, so I had an idea my 3-minute limit was going to be too generous.

Maybe the next quiz will have a shorter limit. It's just for fun after all.

Pam Nelson

Triangle Grammar Guide

The word of the day???

Hi Pam,
I have been a technical writer for over thirty years and I really enjoy your column and quizzes. Please keep up the good work.
Here is a link to a headline from the N&O's very own online front page. I wonder how you pronounce that first word in the headline?


Oh, gracious, I know some copy editors whose heads would explode on that one. 

I am glad you like the quizzes and the blog! Thanks for commenting.

Pam Nelson

Triangle Grammar Guide

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About the blogger

Pam Nelson began her career as a writer in 1976 and has worked in various editing jobs at The News & Observer since 1987. She has won awards for her headline writing and has taught college classes in copy editing and seminars in grammar and usage.